One hears much rhetoric about how education is people oriented – and on the side of the students. It is unfortunate that sometimes the actions do not match the words. With the drastic downturn in the economy, there are some college and university students who are having difficulty paying their second half tuition. Circumstances are such that funds set aside for education simply have to be put to everyday necessities like food and housing. Some families are experiencing unexpected job losses; and long term plans are confronted with immediate necessities.

Educational institutions have two choices. These schools can work with the financially stressed students and draw up an orderly payment plan. The alternative is to ask these students to leave. Needless to say, there are very few job openings for the anyone forced onto the job market. If the schools ask these students to leave, they know that the realistic opportunities for gainful employment are negligible. The competition on the job market is replete with people who have had years – perhaps decades – of experience.

The reasonable alternative is to make financial arrangements with the students and, at least, allow them to complete this academic year. Politicians are focused on bailing out essential industries. However, there is a segment of the student population that is in immediate crisis. Some educational institutions are proving to be just big business. If the tuition bill is not paid, then the consequence to them is very clear cut. This is not acting in the best interest of these students. Legislators need to provide the financial stressed students with alternatives and some protection. It speaks to the long term national interests. It would be sad if these students are added to the growing number of people looking for work.

Catherine Forsythe